KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Western District Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that a woman who helped raise children with her partner was allowed to seek custody of the children, even though she was not a biological parent.
The case states that two women had twins with the help of donor insemination and raised the children together for more than nine years before breaking up. One of the women, Melissa, alleges that the other, Angela, kept her from having contact with the children.
In an effort to remain in the lives of her children, Melissa filed a custody suit.
The Court of Appeals overturned an earlier decision and decided that Melissa has served as a parent to the children for the entire duration of their lives, and she is allowed to seek custody in an effort to protect their relationship, even if she is not a biological parent.
“I’m so grateful to be recognized by the court,” said Melissa. “I love my children more than anything and I want to be there for them.”
“Today’s ruling is a great victory for Missouri’s children,” said Cathy Sakimura, Family Law Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who represented Melissa. “Every family deserves legal protection and respect. The Court recognized that the law should support families, not destroy them, and that children benefit when they can receive love and support from both parents.”
The ruling is expected to help unmarried parents who are not biologically connected to their children.